Human Security

About The Field

The human security field brings together the concerns and practices that deal with “freedom from fear” and “freedom from want.” This covers a broad range of issues and practices, but they all share three main analytic components: (1) person-centered, focusing on views of security from the ground up rather than the top down; (2) multi-dimensional, requiring both an interdisciplinary approach and one that integrates all voices and perspectives; and (3) preventive, choosing to look at root causes and early indicators to be pro-active rather than reactive to threat.

The core literature of the field begins with critical security studies, a body of work originating in the 1980s and proposing that security studies should go beyond its state-centric military focus. Feminist security studies added the importance of viewing security with a gender lens. In the 1994 Human Development Report, human security was first introduced to the policy world, drawing upon two of Franklin Roosevelt’s “four freedoms” quoted above. The issue areas most commonly associated with human security include: gender-based violence; human trafficking; forced migration; drug policy; civilian protection through human rights or non-violent action; multi-track diplomacy; youth and conflict; financial inclusion; and provision of basic services such as healthcare and education.

More broadly, human security is a lens through which to analyze all threats to the security of individuals and communities.

Please refer to the Registrar's Field of Study Guide for definitive field requirements in a given academic year.

Eileen Babbitt

The work I do in practice inspires the kind of questions that I’m interested in researching and teaching. Right now, the important questions have to do with how to pursue both peace and justice.

Eileen Babbitt

Current Students and Alumni

Graduates of The Fletcher School's field of human security are in great demand by employers in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. These are a sample of Fletcher current students and alums:

Angga Martha

Angga Martha

Outside the Classroom

    • New Start Training: Supporting Multilingual Children and Immigrant & Refugee Families
    • Human Security Speaker Series: Brown Bag Lunch with Prof. Oliver Bakewell
    • Thomas de Waal - Great Catastrophe: Armenians, Turks, and the Politics of Genocide
    • Diplomatic Tradecraft in Conflict Zones - Practical Skills for Serving in Countries in Crisis
    • Human Security Speaker Series: Vladimir Zhagora
    • IMAGe: Mass Atrocities and the Response to Their Public Health Consequences
    • Understanding Boko Haram
    • Weapons of Mass Migration
    • Not Who We Are: Public Screening and Panel Discussion
    • The Institute for Human Security: "R2P's Unfinished Journey: The Lingering Promise of Prevention"
    • PrEP, PEP, and the State of HIV Prevention: A Conversation with Carl Sciortino
    • Presentation and Discussion on the Indian Diaspora in the United States
    • Memories of Violence
    • The Politics of Crime in Mexico - John Bailey
    • Exit, Voice...Return? Return Migration, Civic Engagement, and Democracy in Mexico
    • Context- and Conflict-Sensitive Interviewing with Roxanne Krystalli
    • A Conversation on Gender, Conflict, and Peace with Cynthia Enloe
    • ISIS Persecution of the Yezidis in Northern Iraq
    • Embodying Activism in Violent Conflict: Citizen-journalist Qusai Zakarya Reports from the Heart of Syria
    • International Rescue Committee - Monrovia, Liberia
    • Save the Children in Uganda - Lira, Northern Uganda
    • Winrock International - Kathmandu, Nepal
    • The Asia Foundation - Colombo, Sri Lanka
    • Sanlapp - Calcutta, India
    • International Committee of the Red Cross - Dakar, Senegal
    • Danish Refugee Council - Hatay and Sanliurfa Provinces, Turkey
    • United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) - Jordan
    • United Nations Action for Cooperation Against Trafficking in Persons (UN-ACT) - Bangkok, Thailand
    • Center for Civilians in Conflict - Washington, DC
    • "Where Peace Begins: The Role of Local People and Communities in Transforming Economies of War"
    • "When Do We Get to Peace? Patterns of Gender-Based Violence in Post-Conflict Liberia"
    • "Achieving Complex National Security Missions: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Design and Management of Collaborative Institutions"
    • "Towards a Framework for Culturally-Sensitive Psychosocial Interventions in the Population of Internally Displaced Sudanese"
    • “Beyond Isolation: Moving Past the Refugee Camp and Connecting to Home”
    • “Food Security, Monoculture, and the Black Box: Impact and Causal Mechanisms of the Land Husbandry, Water Harvesting, and Hillside Irrigation Program in Rwanda"
    • “Migration by Choice, Not Necessity? Shifts in the Migration and Development Discourse since 2007”
    • “Progress, Opportunity, Prosperity? A Case Study of the Digitization of a Conditional Cash Transfer Program in Mexico”
    • The Fletcher Syria Crisis Working Group
    • Fletcher Food Policy Club
    • Fletcher Humanitarian Action Society (FSIS)
    • Global Health Group
    • Global Women
    • Human Rights Project
    • The Journal of Humanitarian Assistance
    • International Development Group
    • International Migration Group
    • Praxis: The Fletcher Journal of Human Security
  • A Fletcher education is highly customizable, and each student may decide on a different academic trajectory to suit his or her own professional and academic goals. To get a better sense of how these individual curricular decisions can play out, we asked recent students in their final semester to talk about their goals, their classes, and the decisions made during their Fletcher career. Meet Nathan:

    Pre-Fletcher Experience

    Peace Corps Volunteer, Niger
    Communications & Programme Assistant, Plan Niger

    Fields of Study

    Human Security Public & NGO Management

    Capstone Topic

    Defining Success and Failure in Development NGOs

    Post-Fletcher Professional Goals

    Project, program, and policy work in international development

    Read about Nathan's curriculur path.

Faculty with expertise in the field:

Eileen Babbitt

Eileen F. Babbitt

Diana Chigas

Diana Chigas

Karen Jacobsen

Karen Jacobsen